Media are ubiquitous in our lives. They impact how spatial imaginations are created, transmitted, and negotiated. Globalization processes have been accompanied and accelerated by the media since the emergence of the global condition. Media such as books and newspapers, maps, images, exhibitions, radio, television and film, as well as the Internet, but also media producers and media infrastructures have come to play an essential role in producing, transmitting, and implementing spatial imaginations. The role of spatial imaginations has already been a focal point in the SFB’s first phase, which approached them mainly from the perspectives of geography as well as cultural and literary studies. Spatial imaginations, we have found, can have destabilizing effects by providing alternatives and blueprints for experimentation, critique, and protest. However, it remains an open question how and to what degree media affect the scope, scale, or volatility of spatial imaginations and related aspects of spatialization processes.
Various actors and organizations from the realms of politics, business, education, infrastructure, arts, and science have actively implemented media strategies to influence public perceptions of global connectivity and thus advance the reorganization of spaces. They have created and disseminated spatial imaginations with the aim of integrating, territorializing, networking, bordering, and reflecting an interconnected world. These imaginations influence practices of placemaking and spatialization; they potentially reduce complexity by producing patterns that support the substantiation and consolidation of spatial formats and spatial orders. The materiality of the media themselves—as printed, digital, virtual, or interactive entities— can be assumed to impact spatialization processes as well. Popular cultural media such as television and cinema reshape people’s imagination of countries, regions, and continents into new imaginary geographies.
We are interested in the processes of mediation and how spatial imaginations may assume concrete form like images, texts, or maps. We furthermore inquire who the actors of such mediation processes are and what role they play in the mediation of social, cultural, political or economic spaces. Concretely, we ask:
- How are spaces imagined, constructed, articulated, and represented in different media? Which media produce which kinds of spatial imaginations?
- What role does the materiality of media play and what influence do digital, virtual, and interactive media have on current and future spatialization processes?
- How are spatial entrepreneurs and other actors such as authors, engineers, policymakers, administrators, and activists involved in the mediating of spatial imaginations?
- How do power structures and markets influence mediating processes and how do they determine which spatial imaginations prevail, are institutionalized, and condensed into stable formats?
- How can media-oriented approaches be made productive across different disciplines?
- What role do different media play in research and the communication of its results to the public?
The conference is scheduled in a hybrid format to take place in Leipzig and online.